Monday, November 30, 2015

Kobe's last hurrah

"This season is all I have left to give"
The end of an era is in sight.

When Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady called it quits in 2013, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce and Vince Carter were the only superstars to remain from from the brdige generation between Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Nash retired in March. KG is looking ancient in Minny. Pierce and Carter are third-stringers on title pretenders. Only Dirk, Tim and Kobe still do heavy lifting, logging 30-some minutes a game.

That will all end after 2015-2016, though, with KB24 announcing Sunday in the Player's Tribune that he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. The 37-year-old shooting guard, only a shell of his former self this season, delivered the news via a poem about his passion for the sport:

From the moment
I started rolling my dad's tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all -
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court.
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU calledm e.
I did everything for YOU
Because that's what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you've made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I'll always love you for it.
But I can't love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body know it's time to say goodbye.

And that's OK.
I'm ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So wecan both savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that weh ave.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I'll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 .... 1

Love you always,
Kobe

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